After months of discussions with the Osage Nation about making Killers of the Flower Moon into a movie, Martin Scorsese is set to film his adaptation of the grisly Native American gothic novel in Osage County this coming spring. Soon it was revealed that in addition to Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro are participating in making the film, adapted by Eric Roth.
Killers of the Flower Moon captures a disturbing untold story in American history. After the Osage people were driven out of their home in Kansas, they settled in a rocky portion of northwestern Oklahoma. It was only later that everyone realized that there were large pools of oil beneath the rocks, which resulted in the sudden wealth of the Osage Indians. Although by the 1920s, the Osage people found their financial wealth was exponentially increased, journalists exaggerated stories of the extravagance that these people lived in, which only further fanned the flame of envy and fear in racist white Americans.
Scorsese was spotted over the summer in Osage County, Oklahoma, scouting locations for the film. The 1920s-set centers around the Osage Nation murders, in which members of the Native American tribe were killed after discovering oil on their reservation and striking it rich. The murders attracted the attention of the newly-created FBI.
During a meeting with Osage principal chief Geoffrey Standing Bear, Scorsese said De Niro would play cattle rancher William Hale, convicted of one murder in 1929 but suspected of many more. Standing Bear said: “We are very thankful you are here and that you are willing to tell this story.” Originally co-star DiCaprio was to play protagonist FBI agent Tom White, but it has since been decided he is to play bad guy Ernest Burkhart instead. With a spring production start set, expect Killers of the Flower Moon to debut sometime in 2021.
On an interesting side note, The Osage Indian Murders, a dramatization of the case first broadcast on August 3, 1935, was the third episode of the radio series G-Men, created and produced by Phillips Lord with cooperation of the FBI.